Work on a ‘renewable energy highway’ between the UK and Germany could start this year after Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel flagged their support for the £1.4bn ($1.9bn) NeuConnect power interconnector.

The British Prime Minister and German Chancellor backed the NeuConnect project when they met last week, saying the “largest UK-German investment project currently underway will allow our energy grids to share excess power – making sure renewable energy is not wasted and helping both our economies decarbonise more rapidly”.

NeuConnect aims to link the Isle of Grain in Kent, southern England, and Wilhelmshaven in Germany via a 1.4GW, 700km subsea HVDC link.

The project is backed by investors Meridiam, Allianz Capital Partners and Kansai Electric Power.

The partners said in a statement that they hope to reach financial close for the project in September, allowing initial work to start this year and full-scale construction to begin in 2022. Neuconnect aims to be up and running by the middle of the decade.

The UK and Germany both have major renewables and net zero plans as part of their climate and energy policies, with the link hailed as a tool to help manage energy supply and demand in two of Europe’s biggest economies.

Even as it diverges from the rest of Europe politically after Brexit, the UK is forming ever-closer power ties with the continental mainland via a string of interconnector projects.

The most recently completed is the 1.4GW North Sea Link between Britain and Norway, which ministers from the two nations said could underpin a "historic" treaty on energy.